City officials dubious about proposed refuse rate increase |

City officials dubious about proposed refuse rate increase

Elaine Goodman / Tahoe Daily Tribune

LAKE TAHOE ” South Tahoe Refuse Co. has reduced its proposed rate hike for trash-pickup service to 4.92 percent, but the city manager said it will still be “challenging and difficult for the City Council to approve any increase.”

A public hearing on the proposed rate increase is scheduled for Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

The refuse company in January proposed raising rates by 7.01 percent.

The rate hike is needed in part to make up for increased fuel costs during the 2007-08 fiscal year, officials have said.

STR is also facing losses from a drop in value of recyclables, unpaid balances due to foreclosures, and decreased revenue of about $65,000 a year following the demolition of businesses at the convention center site, according to a report by Assistant City Manager Rick Angelocci.

The company has undertaken belt-tightening measures over the past year ” including cutbacks in staff, reducing pensions and increasing vehicle efficiency.

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Since the 7.01 percent increase was proposed, STR determined it would be able to further cut costs, and could reduce the proposed rate hike to 4.92 percent.

Still, STR is likely to encounter resistance to a rate increase during these tough economic times, City Manager David Jinkens warned in a memo to the company.

“People in the community are hurting,” Jinkens wrote. “Most businesses show reduced revenues. … You need to demonstrate to the community and the City Council that you understand and appreciate the plight of the community.”

Jinkens also sent STR a list of questions to consider, including whether the rate increase could be reduced or eliminated if all businesses in the city were required to use STR for trash pickup.

The meeting starts at 9 a.m. in Council Chambers at the Lake Tahoe Airport. See for a full agenda and staff reports.